Art Fraud Detective: Spot the Difference, Solve the Crime!

Book cover: 'Art Fraud Detective: Spot the Difference, Solve the Crime!'
Author(s): 
Anna Nilsen
Copyright: 
2000
Publisher: 
Kingfisher/Houghton Mifflin
Binding: 
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
48 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

This is an exciting and fun art supplement that kids are sure to love (makes a great gift for Christmas or a birthday). There are three main parts to the book. First is an introduction which explains a problem the art museum is having with forgeries. Several gangs of artists have copied original works, but made very slight changes to them. The object of the book is to identify who is responsible for the various forgeries by looking carefully for very specific clues.

The rest of the book is split into two books on top of each other. The upper part is composed of the forgeries - which look like real art until you look very closely (and thus the magnifying glass). A small symbol on the forgery will tell you how many changes the forger made to the original work. By studying the lower book - which is an art catalog with prints of the real paintings, the reader will discover the differences and solve the crime. The catalog includes information about the type of painting; the artist and when he lived; and a brief story about the painting and its subject. There are a total of thirty-four paintings and there is a complete answer key in the back of the book.

What a creative way to get kids interested in art and...fear not! You'll find no twaddle here. I was very pleased to see the practice in attention-to-detail that this book requires and encourages. It's enjoyable enough that my daughter has enjoyed working through it with friends on sleep-overs. There is one picture that jumps out at me as being a little on the shocking side. It's a picture of a very ugly old lady in a very low-cut dress. The book explains that it is a caricature of older women who try to dress younger but really make themselves look ridiculous. I don't really like the picture, but I don't think it really detracts from the book (it also offers the idea of additional purpose in art and an unusual way of making a point).

Additional notes: 

A magnifying glass on a ribbon is bound in

Review Date: 
7-19-04
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